Summary: Being an Authentic Follower of Jesus: Commissioned for Mission: Extending the Kingdom
Being an Authentic Follower of Jesus:
Commissioned for Mission: Extending the Kingdom
We are seeing that the ministry of Jesus is the ministry of the Kingdom or as Luke’s describes it as the gospel of the Kingdom. Jesus proclaimed the good news of the kingdom, and demonstrated the power and presence of the kingdom by healing the sick, delivering the oppressed, and even raising the dead. God commands us to center or orient our lives around the kingdom and God promises that everything else will be taken care of. That means that is as we submit ourselves to the King, take on his values and his priorities, then he takes care of us. God can say something will happen because God makes it happen!
In chapter eight Luke has been laying out his case that Jesus has power and authority over the hearts of men (9-10); over nature (22-25); over demonic spirits (26-38); sickness (43-46); and even death (49-56). Now he delegates this power and authority to his disciples and sends them out empty handed to show them that he is their provider (10-17). Luke continues building his case that Jesus’ power and authority extends over any obstacle that is a threat to ministry.
1. Jesus Sought to Win Followers
Jesus called the twelve together. The reason he was able to call them together was that he had won them over to the kingdom. They looked to him as their leader. The goal of a disciple was and is to have an intimate relationship with their mentor to become like him in his message, ministry, and character. There are two reasons for the disciples having this intimate relationship with Jesus. Teaching was transmitted orally and this teaching was to be lived out by being with the teacher and imitating his life. A disciple is not one who just knows the bible. A follower is one who becomes like his mentor – in his message, ministry, and character. So as they spent time with Jesus, they became like him – they took on his values, his character, his message and his ministry. So when they were sent out they preached the message as Jesus and demonstrated the ministry as Jesus.
When I have preached on discipleship I have had a number of people tell me they do not know what to do just live life and invite others into it. Take them with you or invite them to your small group and spend time with them. I take people through books (because I am a reader), but it is my life and passion for Christ that makes the greatest impact.
Let me warn you – you become like the people you spend time with. Spend time with people who are passionate about Jesus and centered around the kingdom and you will become passionate about Jesus and centered around the kingdom. Spend time with people who are lukewarm or cold toward Christ and you will become lukewarm and cold.
2. Jesus Trained His followers
He not only won them over but the purpose of winning them was to train them to continue and extend his ministry. They spent three years with him. Sometimes we think that they spent all their time with him but here he called the twelve together. This demonstrates that they had homes and probably families also. They have been with him, watching him and then participating with him, now they are on their first ministry trip alone and when they return, he debriefs them.
But training process is not complete without delegating his power and authority to them so they can follow in his footsteps. The power and authority is to demonstrate the rule and reign of the King. Power is the ability to accomplish a task; authority is the right to use that power. He gives them power and authority to proclaim the message of the kingdom and to demonstrate the ministry of the kingdom. In the Gospels authority has to do with Jesus’ word; power has to do with ministry.
This power and authority is over all demons. We just finished a series on demonization and a number of people found freedom. Deliverance from demonic influence is evidence of the presence of kingdom activity.
Jesus power and authority is also to cure diseases, meaning to heal the sick. Another demonstration of the presence of the kingdom is to heal the sick.
Now remember the already; not yet aspect of the kingdom. The kingdom is here but it is still coming. We live in the ‘in between’ time when the kingdom is present but we wait for the fullness of the kingdom when Jesus returns. The kingdom is an assault on the kingdom of darkness and the fruit of sin so we see the power of the kingdom touching all areas affected by sin but not totally turned around. We see some people bow to Jesus; in the future every knee will bow to Jesus. We see unity among followers of Christ partially; in the future we will all experience complete harmony in the heavenly Jerusalem. We experience partial freedom from the power of sin; in the future we look forward to being totally free from the power of sin. We experience some people healed; in the future we look forward to all sickness and disease will be gone. We experience some people resurrected from the dead (all died again); in the future we look forward to the final resurrection of the dead. Every area where sin affects humanity and creation we taste of the powers of the age to come in part; in the future we will taste the powers of the age to come in full.